New Year Dash 2020 Report: Jushin Thunder Liger's Retirement Ceremony

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New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual New Year Dash card took place Monday from Ota Ward Gymnasium highlighted by the retirement ceremony for Jushin Thunder Liger.

Liger’s retirement consisted of an in-ring ceremony featuring a video tribute on his career that dates to 1984 while assuming the Liger persona in 1989.

The native New Japan stars led by Hiroshi Tanahashi surrounded Liger in the ring followed by the CHAOS unit, and NJPW chairman Naoki Sugabayashi with photos taken with Liger. His family also joined in the ceremony along with a video message sent from Antonio Inoki that aired in the arena.

For the rest of the show, the referee wore commemorative t-shirts for Liger.

There were a lot of programs set up for the immediate future with the biggest being Tetsuya Naito’s pending program with KENTA stemming from the attack at Wrestle Kingdom on Sunday. The feud continued with the main event seeing Tetsuya Naito and Sanada defeat KENTA and Jay White when Sanada countered the Blade Runner and pinned White with an O’Connor roll.

In a six-man tag, CHAOS members Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Robbie Eagles & Yoshi-Hashi defeated Suzuki-gun’s Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Taichi by disqualification when Taichi used the Iron Fingers on Okada. It was the first time Taichi has used the weapon since they were passed down from the retiring Takashi Iizuka last year and sets in motion a program between the former IWGP heavyweight champion and Taichi.

During the post-match, Jon Moxley showed up to attack Minoru Suzuki for a future IWGP United States title match.

In the best match of the show, Shingo Takagi & EVIL defeated Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii. The match was stellar, especially Takagi and Goto’s chemistry throughout the match ending with Takagi pinning the NEVER Openweight champion after hitting Last of the Dragon.

This also emphasized the potential of a Goto & Ishii tag team as the show placed a spotlight on potential tag teams to beef up the stagnant division.

New IWGP tag champions Juice Robinson & David Finlay teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi to defeat the Guerrillas of Destiny, Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale after Ibushi hit the Kamigoye and pinned Owens.

After the match, Tanahashi and Ibushi issued a challenge to Fin Juice for a future tag title shot.

Another title set up occurred in a four-way with El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru pinning junior heavyweight tag champions Roppongi 3K in a match also featured Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi and El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori.

We will have a complete review of New Year Dash on Rewind-A-Raw on Monday night with WH Park joining Wai Ting and I.

Here are the complete results from New Year Dash:
*Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors & Alex Coughlin over Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura in 10:41
*El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru over Roppongi 3K, Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi and El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori in 13:30
*Juice Robinson, David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi over Guerrillas of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens in 11:39
*Shingo Takagi & EVIL over Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii in 16:28
*Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Robbie Eagles & Yoshi-Hashi over Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Taichi by DQ in 15:28
*Tetsuya Naito & Sanada over KENTA & Jay White in 14:00